Cardiometabolic Risk

Diabetes Risk: Sugar-Sweetened vs Artificially Sweetened Beverages

Primary Care Blog

I don't know about you, but it was tough watching the San Francisco 49ers lose in the Super Bowl.  But as w/many Americans, I really watch the game for the commercials.  In this year's series, I was particularly curious about the soft drink ads, especially Coke & Pepsi, especially after a prospective population-based study was published early online last week in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in which the authors concluded that both sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened beverages were associated with increase risk of diabetes, compared to 100% fruit juice consumption

To arrive at their conclusion, the authors followed 66,118 French women for 14 years and compared consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) to artificially sweetened beverages (ASB), using 100% fruit juice consumption as the control.  Of note, those who drank fruit juice reported no increase risk of diabetes while those who drank more than 359mL/wk of SSB or 603mL/wk of ASB statistically significantly greater risk of developing diabetes.  Think about it: barely one 12 ounce can of SSB each week (and less than 2 cans of ASB) is enough to increase your risk of diabetes.

Of course, science is never clear cut.  Just 2 months ago back in November, another study published in this same journal concluded that SSB consumption increased one's risk of developing diabetes, but that ASB did not.  So we can agree to disagree:  SSB is linked to diabetes while the jury is out regarding ASB.  Keep your eyes peeled for more research.

Alvin B. Lin, MD, FAAFP

Dr. Lin is an associate professor of family and community medicine at University of Nevada School of Medicine and an adjunct professor of family medicine and geriatrics at Touro University Nevada College of Medicine. He also serves as an advisory medical director for Infinity Hospice Care and as medical director of Lions HealthFirst Foundation. Dr. Lin maintains a small private practice in Las Vegas, NV. The posts represent the views of Dr. Lin, and in no way are to be construed as representative of the above listed organizations. Dr. Lin blogs about current medical literature and news at